Seattle Distributor Gets Friendly
Alaska Distributors acquires Friendly Distributors
Seattle-based Alaska Distributors Co. has recently acquired Friendly Distributors of Everett, Washington.
Founded in 1969 by Kim and Sharon Blunt, Friendly covered the counties of Island, San Juan, Skagit and Snohomish. In addition to buying Friendly's assets, Alaska Distributors has signed a five-year lease for the 96,000 square foot warehouse and will continue to operate it under the Friendly name.
No financial details of the acquisition were announced.
Founded in 1934, Alaska Distributors has become one of the largest private companies based in Washington, serving clients in seven Northwest states. With the addition of Friendly's work force, Alaska has more than 750 employees. The company recently announced plans to relocate its headquarters from south Seattle to a new space in Kent next year.
Friendly Distributing is the second Everett beverage distributor to be bought within the past few months. In April, Portland, Ore.-based Columbia Distributing Co. purchased Sound Beverage, which had moved here after buying out another company.
Epitaph to a Distributer
This has been a scary trend in the Northwest for a while now............the Great Beer Distributer Shake-out is in full swing. It also has some pretty dangerous results.
Friendly used to be our distributer and we had a very good report. I knew Kim Blunt....nice guy......and his son, Greg, another nice guy. It used to be said that if you wanted the good micros you dealt with Friendly. Their staff was truly that.......friendly.......and many of the sales folks I worked with really knew their juice.
Sound Beverage had a similar story, and the acquisition by Columbia has been very painful as they let a chunk of the Sound staff loose just after the take-over. We do not carry Columbia products in our Alehouse.
This opens up some disturbing trends where those Breweries that used to be micros in the past are now exerting there influence over the distribution network by driving certain mergers and aqcuistions by the way they sign distribution contracts. These mega-distributers then have limited catalogue room for the small Breweries and the distribution network basically gets shut out to the small Brewer.
It is also becoming increasingly difficult for the independant distributer to start up out in the trades. We have one such independant, Superior Beverages, here in the Everett area who's trying to make a difference but it's truly a David and Goliath story. At Diamond Knot, we have made the choice to self distribute until we grow outside the teritorial ability to do so, and will seek distributers outside our local areas. A lot of small Breweries in the Northwest self distribute as well, since there really is no good access to the distribution network.
I wonder if you, my Collegues, see the same trends in your neck of the woods.
Anyway, in the meantime, I raise my glass to what used to be Friendly Distributing, and hope the new owners don't have the big purge similar to Columbia's aqcuisition of Sound Beverage.